Telegram just got one of WhatsApp's best features — here's how to use it

Telegram just got one of WhatsApp's best features — here's how to use it
(Image credit: Ascannio/Shutterstock)

Telegram now lets users set an auto-delete timer for all messages, giving the recent WhatsApp converters a convincing reason to stick around. 

Announced via blog post, Telegram's other new updates include flexible invitation links, smartphone home-screen widgets and group chats with unlimited members. WhatsApp has a number of these features, including auto-delete, but many users fled that platform last month following the app's privacy-policy controversies.

Telegram already has an auto-delete option for its encrypted Secret Chats, but now both iOS and Android users can set any kind of message to disappear after 24 hours or after 7 days. 

It's important to know that for regular chats, the auto-delete applies only to messages sent after the feature is turned on. Messages sent prior to the option being enabled won't disappear. But once it's enabled, users can view the auto-delete countdown of each message.

The countdown begins once the message is sent. That's different from the Secret Chat disappearing messages, whose countdowns begin once the messages are read. 

To enable the auto-delete timer for regular Telegram messages on Android, tap the three vertical dots (), then Clear History, then choose a duration.

To enable the auto-delete timer on iOS, press and hold a message, tap Select and then Clear Chat, then Enable Auto-Delete.

WhatsApp added its own disappearing messages feature late last year, and Signal offered the same option long before that. 

In the wake of WhatsApp's privacy-policy woes, Signal became the desired alternative for those concerned about security, but Telegram is also one of the best chat apps and best encrypted messaging apps available now.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.